A blog mostly about social media and whatever else I feel like writing about — PR, advertising, running, photography, you name it.
I'm a social media specialist and a graduate of St. Cloud State University with a Masters Degree in Mass Communications with emphasis in PR and Advertising. I did my undergraduate work at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, majoring in the same field. My interests include social media, marketing, photography, running, and traveling.
Another fairly slow week in the world of social media. But the scathing CNBC piece about Facebook’s ‘cult-like’ workplace is definitely worth calling out. The bad press for Facebook just keeps on coming. Also, Twitter announced a couple new tools for publishers — one focused on events and another on improving analytics. A new ‘ice breaker’ feature may also be rolling out to all users soon.
Be sure to check out the learn section for tips on increasing social media engagement and a fun idea for improving engagement in Facebook ads.
Social Media News:
Inside Facebook’s ‘Cult-Like’ Workplace, Where Dissent Is Discouraged and Employees Pretend to Be Happy All the Time (CNBC). At a company-wide town hall in early October, numerous Facebook employees got in line to speak about their experiences with sexual harassment.
Twitter Gives Events a Boost with New Publisher Tools (TechCrunch). At CES, Twitter announced a new analytics dashboard and a separate dashboard for tracking information around both real-time and upcoming events. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a major improvement with Twitter Analytics, which has been lacking since inception.
Politicians Cannot Block Social Media Foes: U.S. Appeals Court (Reuters). A federal appeals court has ruled that a Virginia politician violated the Constitution by temporarily blocking a critic from her Facebook page.
Twitter Will Begin Testing ‘Ice Breakers’ to Spark Healthy Conversation (The Next Web). I’m not sure how this will spark ‘healthy conversations,’ but the new features include a way to display when a user is online, canned messages, and a new take on threaded replies.
How to Increase Social Media Engagement: A Guide for Marketers (Hootsuite). This blog post has six ways to increase engagement, plus a simple definition of social media engagement, a few engagement tools, and how to measure engagement.
How to Use Quizzes in Facebook Lead Ads (Social Media Examiner). Seems like a neat way to create an engaging Facebook ad.
this week’s Rundown, Russia’s disinformation campaign and (even more) Facebook
troubles dominate the news. Meanwhile, the businesses of influencer marketing
and interior design are alive and well on Instagram. And be sure to check out
the learn section for tips on making your social media marketing more personal
and to learn how to set up and run an effective LinkedIn ad campaign.
Social Media News:
New Report on Russian Disinformation, Prepared for the Senate, Shows the Operation’s Scale and Sweep (The Washington Post). Russia used every major social media platform to support Trump. The same report finds Instagram played a much bigger role in Russia’s manipulation of U.S. voters than previously discussed and will be a key Russian tool in the 2020 elections. There were 187 million interactions with Instagram content, compared with 77 million on Facebook and 73 million on Twitter, according to a data set of posts between 2015 and 2018.
Facebook Exposed up to 6.8 Million Users’ Private Photos to Developers in Latest Leak (The Verge). Facebook continues losing consumer trust. The social networking company recently exposed private photos from up to 6.8 million users to apps that weren’t supposed to see them.
Study Finds Twitter Is a Toxic Place for Female Politicians and Journalists (Axios). The findings show abusive tweets were sent to all female members in U.S. Congress and U.K. parliament, as well as a number of other prominent female political journalists. Black women were 84% more likely than white women to be mentioned in abusive tweets.
Instagram Influencers Are Faking Sponsored Content Because They Think It Attracts Real Brand Deals (Insider). Fake it till you make, am I right? This is only further proof that influencer marketing is big business these days. Speaking of big business and Instagram, the photo-sharing app is also reshaping the $10B business of interior design.
Why Personalization Is the Next Big Opportunity in Social Media Marketing (Buffer). Personalized social media is sort of the next frontier of social media marketing. It’s a step beyond standard customer service and is all about one-on-one communication between brands and customers. This article has a brief case study from Kimpton Hotels.
The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ads: How to Run a Successful Campaign (Hootsuite). With this in-depth blog post from Hootsuite, you’ll learn how to use LinkedIn ads — from setting up your ads to tweaking and improving them over time.
Chart of the Week:
Social Media Outpaces Print Newspapers in the U.S. as a News Source (Pew Research). One-in-five U.S. adults say they often get news via social media, slightly higher than the share who often do so from print newspapers (16%).
A relatively quite week in the world of social media. But two news items stick out. The first is the potential launch of Instagram ‘creator accounts’ for supporting social media influencers on the platform. The news isn’t Earth-shattering, but it goes to show just how important influencer marketing has become — it’s now fully part of Instagram’s business model.
The second big story is the end of Google+ after the search giant disclosed its second major bug in just three months. Again, not huge news as most anyone who’s used Google+ can attest that the social networking site was not only a social media ghost town, but also was riddled with spam, NSFW content, and was just generally difficult to use and understand. The bigger story is the data leak; if you still have a Google+ account, it’d be wise to shut it down immediately.
Be sure to check out the lean section for some simple live video tips and an interesting experiment with Twitter threads.
Social Media News:
Facebook Relaunches Search Ads to Offset Slowing Revenue (TechCrunch). Facebook is testing ads in its search results and Marketplace, directly competing with Google’s AdWords. The ads will be “repurposed News Feed ads featuring a headline, image, copy text and a link in the static image or carousel format that can point users to external websites.”
Twitter Says Governments Are Ramping up Their Demands for User Data (TechCrunch). According to Twitter, the company received 6,904 government requests for information on 16,882 accounts. Twitter turned over at least some data in 56 percent of cases. Most demands came from Russia and Turkey.
Instagram Will Offer Special Features to Influencers with New ‘Creator Accounts’ (Mashable). The app is testing “creator accounts,” which would add new analytics and messaging features geared toward influencers and other power users of the photo-sharing app.
Google to Close Google+ Social Network After Disclosing Second Bug in 3 Months (The Washington Times). After years of failure, Google is finally pulling the plug on its social networking site. A recent bug leaked the private information of 52.5 million Google+ users to developers, including their names, birth dates and email addresses, among other data. Time to make sure your Google+ account is closed; if you ever had one in the first place.
Live Video Marketing Strategies, Hacks and Tips (The Social Shake-Up).
If you’ve ever considered doing a Facebook Live or other live stream
event, this post is for you. From strategy and how to keep your broadcasts
engaging to logistics and what gear you need, this post has it all.
Twitter Threads Increase Reach, Engagement, and Referral Traffic? An
Experiment (Buffer). This is an interesting experiment that
showed Twitter threads (a series of connected Tweets sent from one account)
do in fact increase reach and engagement, but do not improve referral
traffic. My takeaway is that it is worth trying if you just want to create
awareness or drum up enthusiasm for a particular cause, event, or hashtag.
For example, a Twitter thread could be used to remind your followers about
the start of an online event by sharing the name and time of the event
followed by what participants can expect and maybe a quote or two from the
first couple speakers.
Chart of the Week:
Instagram’s Rise to 1 Billion Monthly Active Users (QuickSprout). I think this chart speaks for itself. Click the image for “10 Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2019.”
Did I miss some major social media news this week? Be sure to let me know in the comments.
The latest chapter in the Facebook data privacy saga reveals even more questionable business practices and leadership at the social media giant. I doubt anyone is surprised at this point, but I do find it fascinating how Facebook and its leaders keep digging themselves into an ever-deepening hole. Facebook continues to dominate the social media news cycle while companies like Snap and YouTube keep rolling out new features to try and stay relevant. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani seems to have no idea how the internet works, which is curious seeing as how he is Trump’s cybersecurity adviser.
In this week’s learn section, you can learn about the differences between Google Ads and Facebook Ads and also learn how to boost your Facebook ad relevancy score.
Social Media News:
Used People’s Data to Favor Certain Partners and Punish Rivals, Documents
(The New York Times).
The Facebook data privacy saga continues on. In this chapter, unredacted
documents show Facebook used data it collected on users to favor certain
partners and punish rivals. The documents further illustrate how Facebook
executives treated data as the company’s most valuable resource. Mark
Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg “were intimately involved in decisions
aimed at benefiting the social network above all else and keeping users as
engaged as possible on the site, according to emails that were part of the
document trove.” You can go deeper with this story with the Axios AM newsletter.
Giuliani Is Trump’s Cybersecurity Adviser. He Might Want a Refresher (The Washington Post).
Always remember to double check your tweets for possible typos, or in the
case of Giuliani, to make sure you’ve added spaces between all your
sentences. When text is butted up against a period without a space,
Twitter assumes it’s a link and well, hyperlinks it. Click through to see
his tweets. Direct quote from Giuliani: “Twitter allowed someone to invade
my text with a disgusting anti-President message.” He clearly doesn’t
understand how the internet works.
Is Rolling out Its Instagram-Like Stories Feature to More Creators (The Verge).
YouTube Stories last for seven days on the mobile app, appearing for both
subscribers and non-subscribers, and they’ll show up in YouTube’s “Up
Next” sidebar beside a video. “The focus for YouTube Stories, which
was first announced in November 2017, seems to be on community engagement
and channel promotion more than day-to-day life updates.”
Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads (Angelic Digital via Medium).
It’s basically a difference between paid social and paid search, but this
short blog post gives a nice breakdown of the key differences.
Ways to Achieve High Relevance Scores in Facebook Ads (Socialnomics).
Higher ad relevance scores will lead to lower costs and better ad
visibility leading. This article breaks down what the Facebook ad
relevance score is, how it’s calculated, and ways to achieve a higher
The New York Times published a rather scathing look inside the ongoing crisis at Facebook driven by privacy issues and the spread of disinformation. Although I haven’t read the full piece yet (it is quite long), it’s clear it takes particular aim at CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg for their negligence in allowing the company to get into this mess in the first place. If you find the NYT story of interesting, be sure to also watch the two-part documentary from PBS’s Frontline “The Facebook Dilemma.”
Instagram Stories have not only grown at an incredible pace (see chart below), it has also shown success in other ways, like the million-dollar business of designing people’s Stories. Some surprising news came from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey regarding a possible edit button for tweets. What might such an edit button look like? How many times could you edit a tweet? And for how long after it’s sent? That’s what the folks at Twitter need to figure out as they decide whether or not to roll out such a feature.
Finally, don’t forget to check out the Learn section for tips on building thought leadership and how to maximize your videos shared on social media.
Social Media News:
Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis (The New York Times). This is a long read that I’m planning to take on this weekend, but the key point is that both CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg bear direct responsibility for the company’s woes: “Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.” On Sandberg: “While Mr. Zuckerberg has conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation.” So, Facebook is not exactly showing expertise in crisis communication. If you do read the full piece, be sure to also read Facebook’s response.
Facebook and “The Data Dilemma” (PBS Frontline). Speaking of Facebook, this is a nice video overview of what Facebook knows about you, and how it knows it – from the use of “shadow profiles,” to the main ways Facebook tracks you on the web, even when you’re not on Facebook. This is a companion video to the much longer two-part investigation of Facebook’s privacy controversy that you should definitely watch. It’s also on YouTube.
Designing People’s Instagram Stories Is Now a Million-Dollar Business (Fast Company). With 11 million users, at a rate of 100,000 app downloads per day, Unfold, the Instagram story template app, is set to bring in $2.6 million in revenue for 2018.
Dorsey Says Twitter Is Thinking About an Edit Button to Fix Typos in Tweets (The Next Web). Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the company has to carefully consider use cases for the edit button before making it a reality – and it could potentially be tooled to help fix typos. In my opinion, this would be the biggest change in the company’s history; even bigger than increasing the character count to 280.
LinkedIn Expects Media Biz to Bring in $2 Billion in 2018 (Axios). LinkedIn’s increased ad revenue can be attributed to higher user engagement on the site, driven by recent changes to pages and the LinkedIn news feed.
How to Use Social Media to Build Thought Leadership (Social Media Today). From sharing quality content and knowing your audience to providing original research and building a professional profile, this is a nice listicle of how to position yourself or your brand as a thought leader.
How to Maximize the Exposure of Your Videos: A Strategic Plan (Social Media Examiner). This blog post has a list of five ways to post, promote, and distribute videos more effectively.
Chart of the Week:
We Analyzed 15,000 Instagram Stories from 200 of the World’s Top Brands (Buffer). 400 million people around the world use Instagram Stories on a daily basis (with that number rapidly growing). Click the image for more stats and strategic insight into Instagram Stories.
What are the top social media news stories and learnings that I missed this week?
The 2018 midterm elections have come and gone without any evidence of significant foreign interference. Attempts to undermine the U.S. election process was limited to attempts at spreading disinformation and fear by an infamous Russian troll farm. It seems the efforts from Facebook, Twitter, and the like were mostly successful in their attempts to tighten up security on their platforms. However, Facebook’s ad screeners seem to have gone a bit too far in what ads were rejected, and a path to government regulation of social media platforms seems somewhat imminent.
Midterms aside, be sure to read on for a new Facebook Messenger feature that allows users to delete sent messages up to 10 minutes after they’ve been sent. This week’s learn section includes a Hootsuite blog post with everything you need to know about LinkedIn videos. Plus, four shifts at Facebook and how to work the changes into your social media marketing strategy.
Social Media News:
You’ll Soon Be Able to Delete a Facebook Message up to 10 Minutes After It’s Already Been Sent (Business Insider). The ability to unsend a private message is in addition to the app’s “secret conversations” feature, where users can have their messages expire after a set amount of time.
We Tested Facebook’s Ad Screeners and Some Were Too Strict (The Atlantic). Facebook has some kinks to iron out in its pledge to make advertising more transparent and to protect American elections from unlawful influence. “Facebook prohibited 5 percent of our ads for Veterans Day gatherings. Facebook also prohibited 18 percent of national park ads linking to government websites.”
Trump Says He’s Open to Working with Democrats in Regulating Social Media Companies like Facebook and Twitter (CNBC). Some options to regulate social media companies include enacting privacy regulations, similar to those being imposed in Europe. Trump warned it would be a balancing act between protecting free speech and finding adequate legal boundaries.
A Russian Troll Farm Set an Elaborate Social Media Trap for the Midterms — and No One Bit (NBC News). A website claiming to be run by an infamous troll farm tried to tip journalists and spread fear of election meddling, but failed to generate any serious attention. While social media companies have gotten more serious about preventing the spread of disinformation, hate speech, propaganda, and foreign election interference, some say the issue will never be fixed.
Everything You Need to Know About LinkedIn Video in 2019 (Hootsuite Blog). LinkedIn has been putting more emphasis on video. This in-depth article tells you everything you need to know, from the video specifications to how to set up video ads. Plus, a nice list of video content ideas.
How 4 Shifts at Facebook Will Affect Communicators (PR News). The skinny: ‘Facebook Zero’ is here, Stories gain popularity, video ads could be a better buy than News Feed, and Messenger has become the private news feed for users. Read on to see how to take advantage of these trends.
Chart of the Week:
Top 10 Video Trends [Infographic] (MarketingProfs). Also from the infographic: Video is becoming more search-friendly; thanks to AI and closed captions.
The top social media stories of the week focus on two familiar social networking giants (Facebook and Twitter) and one that is likely only familiar to a few (Gab). For the unfamiliar, Gab is a fringe social networking site that promises a guarantee of free speech, no matter how offensive. Robert D. Bowers, the suspect who allegedly opened fire on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh grew a large following on Gab — where he had a verified account — by sharing a steady stream of anti-Semitic statements.
As the major social media companies make important changes in their platforms to curtail the spread of fake news and limit hate speech by banning users who violate their self-set community standards, new platforms like Gab will continue to crop up. When extremists are banned from one social networking site, they usually just move to another platform, which is often a fringe forum, “where there is far less content to counter many of the false conspiracy claims that people being radicalized are likely to see.”
On that note, Twitter is busy making it easier to report fake accounts; although I remain skeptical that adding the reporting option “the account tweeting this is fake” will have much of an impact. Meanwhile, despite its good intentions, the Twitter Midterms Page was flooded with hyperpartisan and false news shortly after launch.
Be sure to check out the two charts below to see how ubiquitous Facebook has become. And don’t skip the learn section for an inside look at the social media strategy of the Financial Times and how to combine email and social ads for better conversions.
Social Media News:
Twitter Now Lets You Report Accounts That You Suspect Are Bots (The Verge). In Twitter’s ongoing fight against spammers and fake accounts, you can now select “it’s suspicious or spam” on a tweet to see the option “the account tweeting this is fake.”
Zuckerberg Says the Future Is Sharing via 100b Messages & 1b Stories/Day (TechCrunch). Stories are where the majority of Facebook sharing growth is happening, and Facebook Stories are gaining momentum after a slow and buggy start. Look no further than these stats to see just how popular Messenger has become:
Twitter Just Launched a Midterms Page and It’s Already Surfacing Trolls and False, Hyperpartisan News (BuzzFeed News). Just hours into its rollout, the ‘latest’ tab on the Midterms Page was promoting hyperpartisan and false news, as well as tweets from seemingly automated accounts.
The Pittsburgh Suspect Lived in the Web’s Darkest Corners (The Atlantic). Robert Bowers was an avid user of Gab, a social network popular among white nationalists and the alt-right. Gab allows users to say pretty much anything they want. The social networking site’s maximalist approach to free speech has made it the de facto home of extremist figures who have been banned from mainstream social networks for making threats, inciting violence, or promoting racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic ideas.
Inside the Social Media Strategy at the Financial Times (Simon Owens via Medium). The Financial Times is projected to hit 1 million paying digital subscribers by next year, and has done so while maintaining a hard paywall. According to FT’s head of social media, their strategy is not all that different than if they were operating without a paywall. “Putting this stuff on social in a compelling way, a shareable way, in a way people like and want to engage with, is a good practice for us. It gets our journalism out in front of more people than it would otherwise. And also, it helps us reach audiences we wouldn’t otherwise.”
How to Combine Facebook Ads and Email Marketing for Better Conversions (Social Media Examiner). Read on to learn how to use Facebook ads with email marketing to improve conversions in three steps.
Chart of the Week:
Facebook’s User Base Is Declining in Europe, and That Ought to Terrify Its American Bosses (BusinessInsider). Facebook has more users in Europe than it does in the US. The downshift comes after the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal and the implementation of GDPR.
If you’re a heavy Facebook Messenger user, you know how cluttered the app has become. Messenger 4 promises a simpler layout with fewer tabs and an overall cleaner interface. Also in the world of Facebook, the ‘thumb stopping’ 3D photos feature is slowly being rolled out, and the company has revealed its biggest political ad spenders on its platform.
Lastly, be sure to learn about the new LinkedIn algorithm, how to get the most of LinkedIn hashtags, and how to make the most of quotes in Instagram.
Social Media News:
Facebook Is Finally Decluttering Messenger (Engadget). Facebook is making things simpler with Messenger, going from nine tabs to three. There’s the Chats tab (conversations), the People tab (who’s online), and the Discover tab (discover businesses). The latter will give you access to the platform’s Instant Games feature as well.
‘Inherently Thumb Stopping’: Engagement-Thirsty Marketers Try out Facebook 3D Photos (DigiDay). I’ve seen these in my feed and they definitely catch your eye and almost force you to engage with the content. “Long-form video has been declining as attention span [in News Feed declines]. 3D photos are the logical next step as a format that grabs your attention.” I’m looking forward to this feature being rolled out to everyone soon.
Facebook Reveals Its Biggest Political Ad Spenders (AdAge). Some major ad dollars — $256 million on 1.7 million ads — being spent by politicians on Facebook. Beto O’Rourke is the top spender at $5.3 million on 6,000 ads. Donald Trump is not far behind with $4.8 million spent since May, buying more than 100,000 ads.
The Complete Guide to Using LinkedIn Hashtags (Hootsuite Blog). Hashtags are new to LinkedIn, and the company seems to be going all in with the new feature. Adding hashtags to updates and articles gives them a higher chance of being discovered by users who follow or search for the hashtag you’ve used. But how hashtags are used on LinkedIn are a bit different than on other social media platforms. This article has some helpful tips and tricks to make the most of the new feature.
How to Create and Use Instagram Quotes in Your Strategy (Later blog). This article has some good ways to use quotes in Instagram to increase engagement. These can mostly be applied to other social media platforms as well. The article also has a couple handy apps for creating quote images such as canva and AdobeSpark.
Not a lot happening in the world of social media this week; just the usual: shady Facebook news, data breaches, and more revelations on Russia’s influence on the Brexit referendum. For the learning section, I’ve stumbled upon two articles about using video to engage with your online audiences — check it out!
Social Media News:
Did Facebook’s Faulty Data Push News Publishers to Make Terrible Decisions on Video? (NiemanLab). Publishers’ “pivot to video” was driven largely by a belief that if Facebook was seeing users, in massive numbers, shift to video from text, the trend must be real. Perhaps we’re not actually in the midst of a video revolution.
Facebook’s Latest Hack Was by Spammers Who Just Wanted Money (Mashable). Facebook’s latest hack had the information of 29 million users scraped, but apparently by scammers wanting financial gain, rather than for political or ideological purposes.
Russian Trolls Sent Thousands of Pro-Leave Messages on Day of Brexit Referendum, Twitter Data Reveals (The Telegraph). The day of the Brexit vote, Russia mobilized an army of trolls, which at one stage included 3,800 accounts. The fake accounts Tweeted out 1,102 posts with the hashtag #ReasonsToLeaveEU. Now, how will Twitter prevent this from happening again?
Twitter Has Renewed Its Live Video Push & Here’s What You Need to Know (TopRank Marketing). Once the dominate player in live video, Twitter fell to the likes of Facebook, YouTube, and even LinkedIn. This blog post has a few things to consider before jumping into live Twitter video.
4 Ways to Use LinkedIn Video for Your Business (Social Media Examiner). Speaking of video, this article has some solid ideas on how you can use native LinkedIn video to engage with your audience.
It’s been a fairly big week in the world of social media with yet another Facebook security breach, more Twitter account removals, and the bankruptcy of Unilad, the mega Facebook viral publisher. Plus, be sure to make your way down to the learn section for a newly discovered tool for turning audio interviews into short video clips and some tips on creating buzz on social media.
Social Media News:
Unilad: Facebook Viral Publisher Goes into Administration (The Guardian). The website’s parent company, Bentley Harrington, has debts of more than £6m. The company, which began life as a student “banter” page, is one of the world’s biggest publishers of viral content. Many viral publishers have struggled to translate their enormous reach into a profitable business model, owing to the high cost of making bespoke native ads.
Trump’s Tweets Are Less Read and Influential Than People May Think (Axios). Nearly 60% of Americans rarely or never read Trump’s tweets. Follow the link for a few more stats on public trust, news media, and politicians.
Twitter Removes 50 Accounts Posing as Republican Party Members in Pre-Election Crackdown (The Telegraph). The company said it was acting to “protect the integrity of elections” by banning users who had stolen profile information from others. It said it was deleting 9.4 million accounts a week overall as it battles a wave of fake users.
Facebook Reports Security Breach Affecting 50 Mn Accounts Globally (Inc42). The safety breach on Sept. 25 was due to attackers exploiting a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted the “View As” a feature on profiles. Facebook claims to have fixed the issue.
How to Repurpose Audio Content for Social Media and Beyond (Social Media Examiner). This is where I discovered Headliner App, a free online tool that easily converts podcasts (or any audio) into a short video (limited to 10 minutes in length). Could be handy for chopping up audio interviews into bite-sized content to share on social media.
How to Generate Social Media Buzz for Your Product (Social Media Explorer). From creating a branded hashtag to hosting an event or contest, this article has some quick tips for creating buzz on social media.
Chart of the Week:
According to this chart from Sprout Social, measuring ROI is still the biggest challenge for social media marketers.